Aiden T Aiden Tedesco – Beating the Odds

This kid has had so many obstacles thrown at him and he’s just amazing. We owe a lot to Children’s Specialized Hospital.

Aiden TedescoAiden Tedesco was born on November 29th, 2015 and was adopted by Kerry Tedesco and her family right after his second birthday. From a young age Aiden faced a number of obstacles including delayed development, a bowel obstruction, and laryngomalacia, a congenital softening and malformation of the larynx that can partially block the airway. He needed a number of reconstructive surgeries, required a G-tube for feeding, and had a portion of his intestine removed. Unable to walk or talk, Aiden began early intervention services around the age of two, along with outpatient occupational therapy and feeding therapy at Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH) in Hamilton.

Aiden began working with Occupational Therapist, Vanessa Rey, and Speech Pathologist, Heather Capriotti, on his speech and food aversions. “Aiden has a lot of food difficulties alongside a number of allergies, which leads to some behavior issues,” shares his mom, Kerry. “Feeding therapy has been pretty amazing.”

Vanessa worked with Aiden specifically on refining his fine motor skills, expanding play schemes, accepting food textures at hand level, and his tolerance for transitions between activities. “Some of the things we did together involved stringing beads, snipping with scissors, connecting interlocking puzzles, making pre-writing lines, obstacle courses, playing with food, and pretend play,” shares Vanessa.

Aiden TedescoKerry says that when Aiden started with feeding therapy, she learned so much from both Vanessa and Heather about the different tools that could help him at feeding time. “He doesn’t chew his food so I puree everything for him. He uses a straw cup but the liquid is thickened to help him drink through the regular straw slower. When he started with feeding therapy, he couldn’t even hold a spoon and I really didn’t know if he would ever be off of his feeding pump. He’s been off the feeding pump since he was about three and a half, and we only use his G-Tube once a day for a small amount of supplemental water.”

Benefitting from Telehealth

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aiden went from seeing his therapists in person to utilizing telehealth services. “Vanessa and Heather have been the biggest help in this journey,” shares Kerry. “He gets so excited to see his therapists whether on screen or in person. He looks forward to talking and interacting with them.”

Aiden Tedesco“Aiden was my last patient of the day and I couldn't be any happier to see him,” shares Vanessa. “Every week when the video started he would greet me with, ‘Hi, Miss Vanessa. How are you?’, and he would continue to tell me what was on his shirt. Aiden made great gains through telehealth and it was bittersweet ending this episode of care.”

According to Kerry, Aiden loves balls, sharks and dinosaurs, which his therapists have done a great job incorporating into his therapy sessions. “He doesn’t have play skills, so the only toy he will play make believe with is a toy phone,” Kerry says. “That’s something Vanessa has been working on him with, even incorporating this into feeding.” She goes on to share that both Vanessa and Heather will use one of his favorite figurines and show him how to “feed” it and how they eat to help reinforce what he works on during his sessions.

Kerry shares that she also tries to emphasize skills learned in therapy while at home between sessions. “Something Vanessa has worked with him on during his Occupational Therapy sessions is how to properly put on his socks. One day as I was putting his socks on I said to him ‘Remember, Miss Vanessa says thumbs first!’ Now, every time we put his socks on he will say, ‘thumbs first!’.”

Looking Forward

Aiden TedescoWhen asked what advice she had for parents, Kerry shares that the best thing to do is find a community of others who are on similar journeys. “Utilize the services that CSH offers. Go to support groups, even if you don’t think it’s your thing, just try one. You may find that other parents have advice or tips you haven’t thought of and you’ll see that you’re not alone. Networking with other families was extremely helpful for me and showed me that there is always something that you can offer to someone else.” She also shares that focusing on what your child can do and their abilities is what will get you through. “Take pictures and videos! You’re going to be so happy that you did when you can look back and see the progress.”

Along with Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Feeding Therapy, Kerry and Aiden’s care team are working now on developing a therapy plan through Children’s Specialized Hospital’s Autism Program. “Aiden was recently diagnosed with Autism. I had suspected Aiden was autistic for years based on a number of factors,” says Kerry. “Finally, thanks to CSH, we were able to have a series of evaluations and appointments to figure that out and get a plan together.”

Aiden TedescoNow at five and a half, Aiden is an active kid that continues with his outpatient therapies and making strides to beat all the odds he’s been faced with. “When Aiden came to us, all of his doctors had basically written him off,” says Kerry. “He wasn’t able to walk or talk and they basically said this is all he’ll be able to do. But after a few months with the right support, we began to see a difference!” She goes on to say, “this kid has had so many obstacles thrown at him and he’s just amazing. We owe a lot to Children’s Specialized Hospital.”